Tips on tweaking your text in order to be Google/search-friendly

Here’s a blog post with some useful tips about tweaking your text and pages in order to be found by people searching on Google.

Try running this very specific Google search – “Manhood” by Mels van Driel review – and you will not find the L.A. Times among the results – at least not within first three pages that humans would care to flip through. How come might you ask? Well the answer is simple – there is nothing whatsoever that tells Google that this post is a book review about this particular book…
from ReadWriteWeb

Substitute book reviews with whatever you’re discussing on your own site or blog. Popular tech blog ReadWriteWeb should know. Their search engine optimisation proved to be so good recently that searchers mistook an article about Facebook for Facebook itself.

And here’s another post of tips, from the blog of Google’s Matt Cutts…

Don’t just use technical terms–think about real-world terms and slang that users will type. For example, if you’re talking about a “usb drive,” some people might call it a flash drive or a thumb drive. Bear in mind the terms that people will type and think about synonyms that can fit naturally into your content. Don’t stuff an article with keywords or make it awkward, but if you can incorporate different ways of talking about a subject in a natural way, that can help users.
from Matt Cutts’ blog

Google Nexus One phone – its feature set is not the point

We don’t normally cover the minutiae of tech industry developments on this Native blog (plenty of blogs are dedicated to that if you want it). But this post about developments in mobile is well worth understanding.

As a user you do not have the freedom to choose the carrier with the iPhone. Nor can you buy an unlocked version. Apple dictates what carrier you are to use. As a developer you cannot get your iPhone app in the store, unless Apple approves it. You are at their mercy. And while this might improve quality it also provides a ground for corruption or power misuse.

Google on the other hand has taken an entire different approach. Instead of focusing on controlling the entire experience, it places the user in the center and lets him decide what to do. It has created Android OS which is now distributed across many different devices. It has an app store that everyone has access to. It encourages free distribution and development of their software. And now it has delivered the Nexus One, a phone that isn’t tied to a mobile carrier, and (disregarding some technical barriers) can be used with any carrier. They even have set up a web store where you can buy the phone without a carrier, or add a carrier plan to it. Who would have thought this to be possible 3 years ago? Who could actually break the monopoly the carriers had on handset distribution? We have to thank Google for that although Apple clearly paved the path for this disruption.

Alexander Vanelsas nails the key difference between Apple’s iPhone and Google’s new Nexus One phone. It’s not about the pros and cons of the specific features of the device, but the entire philosophy which Google have embraced.

Unlike Apple’s closed iPhone system and app store, Google’s own ecosystem is open. Its mobile operating system, Android, is free software.

Any company or individual is free to download the software, adapt it, improve it and also to develop applications which run on it – and is free to distribute them. Whether they then charge for the software is up to them and their business model.

This is not only a sound philosophy, but a killer business strategy for Google.

In other words, Google has unleashed a wave of innovation here and through Android, already opened the way for “clone” mobile devices to flourish. It is certain to boost the widespread adoption of cheap smartphones with web access.

If you’re in the planning stages of a social media project, then don’t ignore the imminent growth of mobile web access.

Building an online reputation? Slow process. Having it destroyed? Much quicker process.

Matt Cutts of Google receives a lot of requests to remove pages from the search engine’s index. This is his standard response. In short, Google don’t remove pages from their index unless there are extremely good reasons.

What he didn’t mention this time (although he obviously does know it) is that it’s vital to maintain your own web presence to overcome any negative or defamatory treatment you might be getting online.

This means monitoring and responding to people’s grievances in a timely fashion on various networks and platforms. Twitter is just one (read the Motrin story from last year for just one example).

It also means having your own site or blog which you regularly update. There are many benefits to this – idea development, more “content” to pull people in, maybe a dash of promotion and a nice, recent “last posted” date to reassure new visitors you’re still on the case. Plus you will probably get a better search ranking from a frequently updated site.

But the benefits for reputation are what I’ll focus on here. With your own blog, you can respond instantly to any trend of opinion that might be emerging – highlighting the good stuff and rebutting the bad stuff.

It’s possible to nip something at an early stage and make your stance clear. Ideally each blog post would have its own permalink so people can use it to respond in turn and – if you deserve it – support you. Here’s the permalink to this post.

Depending on the situation you might need to take it on the chin and admit a mistake, the earlier the better. Most organisations can expect a sensitive and potentially reputation-damaging event at some point. You can’t “bury bad news” in this space, sorry!

Here’s this week’s good example – Spotify’s honest admission of a security breach. Spotify are a tech company and they seem to know about this stuff. But it’s just as applicable in other industries. And will become more so.

Building an online reputation is a slow process.

Having it destroyed is a much quicker process.

Make sure you’re prepared.

If you want another angle, I’m also reminded of a seminal blog post from Anil Dash of Six Apart – about privacy and identity control, an oldie but a goodie.

What Would Google Do?


We are blog and news junkies here at Native. (We need to be.)

One thing that amuses me is when commentators emerge from the woodwork to direct their earnest advice towards the business and technology strategies of Google.

Google’s huge success in building an empire on search advertising is very well known. It’s enabled them to launch an entire suite of web-based applications.

(It’s likely you might be reading this blog post in Google Reader or Google Mail, for instance. If not, maybe you’re using their Google Chrome browser.)

But daily, hourly even, there is no shortage of people with some nugget of insight. Or withering putdown.

When you’re the best, you are at your most visible and you are the biggest target for ill-conceived challenges. Just ask any boxing champion who has to walk into a bar.

Admittedly Google’s recent 4th quarter financial results were down. But considering a tough market for advertising in general, they continue to do comparatively well – beating analysts’ forecasts with net profits of $382 million.

Media commentator Jeff Jarvis’ overall premise is different. While not without his own critics, Jarvis is not foolish enough to take cheap shots at the fastest growing company of recent times.

Jarvis has some good insights on his blog and Guardian newspaper pieces. I for one am looking forward to reading his new book What Would Google Do?.

His subject scope is large, judging from this book teaser:

It seems as if no company, executive, or institution truly understands how to survive and prosper in the internet age.

Except Google.

So, faced with most any challenge today, it makes sense to ask: WWGD? What would Google do? In management, commerce, news, media, manufacturing, marketing, service industries, investing, politics, government, and even education and religion, answering that question is a key to navigating a world that has changed radically and forever.

So, WWGD? (I’m looking forward to the bracelet and sandal franchises.)

Jarvis’ background is old school print journalism, so it helps to view his commentary as coming from that perspective. You might remember him from his Dell Hell online campaign in 2005 when he openly criticised the PC manufacturer via his blog and became responsible, in part, for the subsequent improvements to their customer service.

If you’re looking for more detail from Jarvis, read The Google Economy and The Imperatives of the Link Economy.

The book is out next week on Collins. (I wonder if News Corporation, their parent company, have anything to say about it.)

Tim O’Reilly says “Work on Stuff that Matters”

Tim O’Reilly is the founder and CEO of O’Reilly book publishing and is a thinker and businessman whose work I seriously respect.

Given the time of year and the fear of a worsening economic downturn, I thought I’d share this blog post on how to focus your business on stuff that matters.

O’Reilly’s emphasis here is on tech companies but I think the advice is enlightening whatever sector you’re in.

I often recommend his material to people. In fact, I’d recommend subscribing to his blog feed or at least following his updates on Twitter if you’re set up to do so.

(If you’re not set up for that or would just like to tell us about your business, we at Native would like to hear from you. Just get in touch.)